Chiefs Defense Still A Work in Progress

Defense wins championships, or that is what is said. The Kansas City Chiefs were the hottest story during the first 2/3 of the 2003 NFL season.

Undefeated, playing extremely well offensively and just solid enough on the defensive side of the ball, the Dick Vermeil led warriors of Arrowhead appeared unstoppable.

That was until the upstart Cincinnati Bengals battered and bruised the Chiefs with a powerful rushing attack and an air display which shook the foundation of the Chiefs.

Not so surprisingly, the Chiefs were exposed for what they actually were. A good offensive team which needed to stay on the field to keep an opportunistic but below average defense off the field.

A defensive line which was given a boost with the off-season acquisition of defensive end Vonnie Holliday was unable to get to the quarterback, much less play the run consistently. Yet another free agent acquisition, outside linebacker Shawn Barber showed glimpses of his speed and quickness, though those physical qualities quite often put him out of position.

The story of the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs was not an unexpected one. The Chiefs were a porous defensive team in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. As the team made moves to improve the defense, addressing all the issues on the defensive side of the ball would take more time that the front office originally thought.

Lacking a true run-stuffing defensive tackle, a pure pass-rushing defensive end, and questionable talent and depth at the cornerback positions, Kansas City would attempt to defy the obvious and win their way………control the football, outscore the opposition, and make big-plays defensively.

All the above worked for weeks, maybe long enough for the mighty Chiefs to become overconfident, or complacent.

If you listen to head coach Dick Vermeil, his Chiefs had room to grow, they are a group of great guys playing for the common goal, which is to win the championship.

This goal ended a shutdown cornerback and standout defensive linemen short.

But, the run by the Kansas City Chiefs was fun. Now, the off-season kicks into full gear and Vermeil, along with Carl Peterson have the tough challenge to add the pieces to the puzzle to bring Kansas City another champion. The task will be difficult and it starts with keeping some of their own from the free agency market.

Kansas City can go a long way towards solidifying their questionable defensive backfield by retaining the services of safety Jerome Woods. Teaming with Greg Wesley, who recently signed a 6-year contract, the tandem has become one of the better safety units in the game today. The Chiefs want to sign Woods to a long term contract and if they are unable to get that done, he might be tagged as their franchise player.

The Chiefs would like to keep these two high-caliber safeties together to form the core nucleus of the defensive backfield. While Woods was having his best year, Wesley was equally impressive. Feeding and playing off one another, both players were solid.

Wesley is an ascending player and Chiefs President Carl Peterson continued his pattern of signing a core player on the rise instead of the decline. Wesley could be one of the top 10 safeties in the league, adding quality and depth at the cornerback positions could be just what the Chiefs need to turn around a struggling defense.


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